The Elephant from a set of five Grotesques

Designed by Jean-Baptiste Monnoyer (French, Lille 1636–1699 London)
Style of Jean Berain (French, Saint-Mihiel 1640–1711 Paris)
Border designed by Guy Louis Vernansal the Elder (French, Fontainebleau 1648–1729 Paris)
Factory director:
Philippe Béhagle (French, 1641–1705) , or his son Philippe
designed ca. 1688, woven ca. 1690–1711
French, Beauvais
Wool, silk (21-27 warps per inch, 8-9 per cm.)
Overall (confirmed): 116 x 181 in. (294.6 x 459.7 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of John M. Schiff, 1977
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 551
Presenting musicians, acrobats, and exotic animals within a fanciful architectural setting, this tapestry is from a set known as the Berain Grotesques, in reference to the pervasive stylistic influence of Jean Berain (1640–1711), who may even have provided preliminary sketches. The Classical architecture, flora, fauna and figures against the blank ground was in emulation of the Roman wall-paintings excavated in the subterranean chambers of Nero's palace in Rome (erroneously called 'grotti', hence 'grotesques'.) The light-hearted subject matter and whimsical design contrast with the heavier, ornate style that had characterized French tapestry during the third quarter of the seventeenth century. The series enjoyed immense popularity during the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, and the Beauvais workshop produced many weavings for international clients.
possibly Prince Murat ; Private Collection, France (before 1909) ; [ Mortimer L. Schiff sale, Christie's, London , June 22–23, 1938, no. 75 ] ; John M. Schiff (before 1957–77; to MMA)